Health Care Reform and Essential Benefits


Karen Boykin-Towns

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers hope to millions of Americans who will gain insurance coverage under it; and the definition of essential benefits plays a crucial role in turning that hope into a useful reality. As Secretary Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said recently:

The Affordable Care Act ensures Americans have access to quality, affordable health insurance. To achieve this goal, the law ensures plans offered in the new Health Insurance Exchanges, and in the individual and small group markets, offer a package of essential health benefits that are equal in scope to what employers typically offer today. (1)

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